On the night of Jan. 27, Quang Ninh recorded one of Vietnam’s first Covid-19 community transmissions in nearly two months: a man who works at Van Don International Airport. The man, eventually designated “Patient 1553”, was taken to Hanoi’s National Hospital for Tropical Diseases for treatment.
Those who had been in contact with the patient were quarantined at the No. 2 field hospital in Ha Long, with dozens of cases subsequently confirmed infected.
Every morning, doctors and nurses at the field hospital convened with peers across the country through a telehealth system to help diagnose and treat Covid-19 patients.
The hospital has 250 beds, along with state-of-the-art equipment for receiving, diagnosing and treating Covid-19 patients and suspected cases.
Over 100 medical workers and other employees are working at the hospital.
Doctors treat Covid-19 patients twice a day while wearing protective suits.
Nurse Nguyen Khac Sang, 34, has become a barber during his time at the hospital.
“We treat Covid-19 patients in three shifts between four teams. When the shifts are over, we have time to take care of ourselves. Some call their families, while others clean up areas across the hospital,” he said.
Ever since Sang joined the frontline fight against Covid-19 in February, his wife and children had to move back to their grandparents in Uong Bi Town, with the mother finding work at a local kindergarten.
“It’s nearly Tet but I cannot be with my family. In the evening, my wife and I often video call each other,” he said.
The treatment ward for Covid-19 patients is frequently disinfected.
A medic transfers a mobile X-ray scanner meant for patients unable to move from their wards.
Besides traditional diagnoses, doctors also communicate with their patients through the phone to cut costs, as every physical visit would require a new protective suit, priced at about VND1 million ($43.68).
All medical workers would be tested for Covid-19 once a week.
Doctors and nurses rest on the spot after receiving Covid-19 patients and suspected cases.
Nguyen Duc Doi, a doctor in the ICU, described the days near the end of January as “dizzying.” At the time, he was working as a Covid-19 screener, when he received wave after wave of new patients. There were days when he alone had to handle 80 people.
“I still had enough strength after the first night, but at the end of the next night fatigue overtook me. My throat went dry and my eyes forced themselves to stay open. I had to get out some times to take a breath and shake my head to stay conscious,” he said.
Doctors and nurses at the field hospital convene with the Quang Ninh Department of Health online.
Ambulances frequently zip in and out of the hospital to deliver Covid-19 patients.
As of Monday morning, Quang Ninh has recorded 47 Covid-19 cases during the new wave that hit late January. Several areas in the province have been put under lockdown to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.